Several scientists have stated in recent times that atheists may not actually exist, as all people innately believe in God. In a recent article published by Nury Vittachi, works of different researchers including those of notable personalities like Pascal Boyer and Graham Lawton have been discussed and each of these works argue that belief in God is naturally ingrained inside every individual.
“Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged… Of course these findings do not prove that it is impossible to stop believing in God… What they do indicate, quite powerfully, is that we may be fooling ourselves if we think that we are making the key decisions about what we believe, and if we think we know how deeply our views pervade our consciousnesses,” Vittachi writes.
According to Vittachi, even those who identify as atheists are actually unable to stop themselves from believing in supernatural beings completely.
“The difference between the atheist and the non-atheist viewpoint is much smaller than probably either side perceives. Both groups have consciousnesses, which create for themselves realities, which include very similar tangible and intangible elements. It may simply be that their awareness levels and interpretations of certain surface details differ… We might all be a little more spiritual than we think,” he wrote.
While many atheists have expressed their displeasure with Vittachi’s findings, some other scientists have drawn similar conclusions.
“When people no longer believe in god, it doesn’t mean they don’t have intuitions that are powerfully connected to the supernatural. Even in societies that are majority atheist, you find a lot of paranormal belief,” said Ara Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Likewise Pascal Boyer from Washington University said, “A slew of cognitive traits predispose us to faith… For the time being, the data support a more modest conclusion: religious thoughts seem to be an emergent property of our standard cognitive capacities.”
Even though many people say that they do not believe in God in the present time, Boyer thinks that that idea is fundamentally opposed to the natural disposition of human beings. He reaffirms that a lack of belief is usually the result of effortful, deliberate work against people’s natural cognitive dispositions and more often than not, it is the more tedious ideology to propagate.
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